Mossberg Brownie Pistol: History & Disassembly

posted on October 2, 2021
left side mossberg brownie pistol handgun

Most of us think of O.F. Mossberg & Sons as a major producer of rifles from 1922 to 1986 and a mammoth shotgun maker today. But founder Oscar Mossberg’s first product was neither rifle nor shotgun but a repeating pocket pistol.

In 1919, Mossberg, his sons Iver and Harold, and a single employee set up in a loft in New Haven, Conn., and made the first of some 37,000 Brownie pistols that continued in production until 1932. The principles behind the $5-range pistol involved a break-open action; four 21⁄2" barrel tubes that were chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge and rifled in a single cluster; a firing pin that retracted, rotated 90 degrees and then fell after each long trigger pull to fire each chambered cartridge in succession.

Above all, the Brownie offered simplicity and economy in a highly portable package. It was, in a sense, the Sharps derringer brought up to date.

parts diagram gun pistol mossberg

Ensure the pistol is unloaded and all ammunition is removed from the area. Pull the extractor blade (6) from the top of the frame (7). Depress the barrel latch (3) and swing the barrel cluster (1) down into its open position. Remove the grip plate screws (11) and grip plates (8 & 9) with their escutcheons (10). Remove the sideplate screws (18) and sideplates (16 & 17).

hand fingers screwdriver gun parts pistol frame spring metal
Fig. 1

Drift out the barrel hinge pin (2) and separate the barrel cluster from the frame. The trigger (26) and its return spring (28) and plunger (27) are released from the cluster by partially unscrewing the trigger stop screw (29). Use care when doing this so that the plunger and spring do not fly out (Fig. 1).

The mainspring (12) is under compression, and it and its strut (13) must be pried out from the butt with great care to prevent possible injury or parts loss. It is recommended that the frame be clamped in a padded vise for this operation and for reassembly.
Note the positioning of the wire torsion spring (25) that powers the striker hand (22). Disengage the spring’s hooked end from the striker hand and drift out the striker hand pin (23) to release both hand and spring.

Drift out the striker carrier pin (21) and remove the striker assembly that includes the carrier (20), sear (14), sear pin (15), striker (19) and striker retainer (24) that serves also as the sear spring.

hand fingers gun barrel screwdriver pistol parts handgun mossberg brownie
Fig. 2

If the sear pin is removed, all the attendant parts can be separated. Removal of the barrel latch pin (4) will free the barrel latch (3) and its spring (5), completing disassembly.

Reassembly is in reverse order, but emphasis must be placed again on the advisability of the use of a padded vise in replacing the mainspring. A notched tool is convenient in reseating the mainspring in the frame (Fig. 2).


Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F
Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F

Blast From The Past: Revisiting The 9 mm Magnum 'Super Cooper'

Follow Brad Miller as he takes a closer look at the 9 mm "Super Cooper" magnum handgun cartridge, which can have cases made for it from cut down .223 Rem. casings.

Smith & Wesson Model 10: A Legendary K-Frame Available Today

Today’s Model 10 chambers .38 Spl. and can handle +P loads. Cylinder capacity is six cartridges in the single/double action. Its frame, cylinder and barrel are carbon steel, blued in classic fashion and the grips are wood. It’s a timeless look.

Tips & Techniques: A Penny For Your Dry-Fire Thoughts

When performing dry-fire practice with an AR-15, there are a lot of reasons you might not want the bolt to lock to the rear. You can use dummy rounds, snap caps or other safety aids, but there’s another trick used in training circles requiring far less investment.

NRA Foundation Grants $252,000 For Ammo To USA Shooting

The NRA Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a $252,000 grant for USA Shooting to purchase the specific shotshells used by the National Team, National Development Team and National Junior Team.

This Old Gun: Winchester Model 1892 'Trapper'

The Winchester 1873 may have been “The Gun That Won The West,” but it was the Winchester Model 1892, with its smoother, stronger action, that soon began outselling the earlier toggle-link lever-action and eventually caused the ‘73’s demise in 1921.

Preview: Wilson Combat WCP365 Grip Module

Wilson Combat is offering aftermarket grip modules compatible with SIG Sauer’s P365/P365 XL micro-compact semi-automatic pistols that significantly improve the host handguns’ ergonomics while adding a touch of custom flair.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.